Herts Ad Comment: At last a Christmas market we can be proud of!

What do we think at the Herts Ad?

What do we think at the Herts Ad? - Credit: Archant

“St Albans is the perfect location for a fun, vibrant and atmospheric Christmas market in the style of those we have seen in Europe, if only the powers-that-be can manage to bottle that continental magic and transport it across the Channel to our fair city.”

These comments featured in this very column in the Herts Ad of November 30 2017, and were followed up on December 21 by the suggestion that the district council put the market out to tender instead of continuing to operate it at a loss.

It seems as though someone was actually listening to our suggestions if the plans for this year’s festive market are anything to go by., with SADC handing over control to the Meraki Festival.

Not content with establishing St Albans’ first major music festival (which looks set to be bigger and better this year,) the organisers are now promising plenty of Meraki magic in the winter as well.

Their proposals for the beleaguered Christmas market would transform this white elephant into something the city can truly be proud of.

Moving it away from the Vintry Gardens is long overdue, as this out-of-the-way location was always a major obstacle in its success.

Council bosses were reluctant to keep it running into the evening, despite people claiming that the whole experience of a Christmas market is to walk round it at night, complete with mulled wine and carol singers.

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The city’s huge community of commuters were therefore restricted in when they could visit, and it was impossible to capture the magical atmosphere in daylight.

Not only will this year’s market be moved to a larger site near Westminster Lodge, but there are plans for assorted new activities which will truly create a seasonal event for all ages, easily accessible by shuttle buses from the city centre.

Fun fair rides, Santa’s Grotto, live music, extensive food and drink offerings, an artificial ice skating rink and a theatre are just some of the attractions we can look forward to this year.

As we have said in the past, the Herts Advertiser has always supported the concept of a Christmas market in the city, it was just the execution we found problematic. Now it looks as though a company with the vision, passion and desire to make it succeed has finally taking the helm.

Christmas may seem a long way away as we bask in this glorious summer sunshine, but it’s going to be worth waiting for if this winter wonderland becomes a reality....